Once a month

Yarra River

(with the exception of January or horrid weather events or family commitments)

I take my glass

to a fun outdoor market that is held on the banks of the

Yarra River in Warrandyte, Melbourne.

Ornithorhynchus - platypus

The area was originally occupied by one or more clans of the Wurundjeri,

Indigenous Australians of the Kulin nation,

who spoke variations of the Woiwurrung language group.

Laughing Kookaburras (in the trees and peck our windscreens during the market)

In Australian Aboriginal mythology (see dreamtime),

a Wurundjeri dreamtime story tells of a great eagle; “the all powerful,

ever watchful creator of the world” named Bunjil,

who “once gazed down upon his people from the star Altair and saw their wrong doing.

Awaiting their return, with a mighty crash of thunder,

he hurled down a star to destroy them”.

Where the star struck created a gorge in which much of the town today is located.

Warrandyte is downstream from Healesville

Bunjil’s people remembered the spot, and referred to it as Warrandyte (speculated to mean “that which is thrown”).

Warrandyte was an important place to them as the

geology formed a natural gorge which inspired many of the

Wurundjeri dreamtime stories, such as those associated with Bunjil.

They managed the land sustainably for tens of thousands of years.

Port Phillip Bay 10,000 years ago.

(Fascinatingly, it is believed that the whole of Port Philip Bay was only waterlogged during the last ice age and that the Wurundjeri ... people enjoyed plentiful crops on the banks of all the converging rivers.)

One example of this can be found in the tradition whereby neighbouring clans

agreed to cease fishing in the Yarra River once fish populations became low;

this gave the fish the opportunity to repopulate the area and

prevented the human-induced extinction of any species.

This principle was also applied to hunting and gathering on land and the use of trees.

Trugannini 1866

The first European eyes to appreciate the pristine beauty of the meandering waterway was Charles Grimes,

Acting Surveyor General of New South Wales.

During his exploration in 1803 he named it ‘Freshwater River’.

He declared it to be the “the most eligible place for a settlement that I have seen”,

although he also noted flood debris as high as 13 metres above river level.

The name ‘Yarra’ is attributed to surveyor John Wedge, who in the ‘Rebecca’ accompanied

John Batman on the 1835 party of exploration on behalf of the Launceston-based Port Phillip Association.

Wedge asked local aborigines what they called the cascading waters on the lower section of the river.

They replied ‘Yarro Yarro’, meaning ‘it flows’.

Wedge’s mishearing of the word determined its enduring name.

On the banks of the Yarra on 8 June, 1835

John Batman enacted his now infamous purchase of 600,000 acres of land with a group of local aborigines.

Three months later, George Evans in the ‘Enterprize’ made landfall on the Yarra on 30 August, 1835,

near the site of the present day Immigration Museum in Flinders Street. He constructed huts on the south bank.

In 1851, gold was first discovered in Victoria in Warrandyte at Anderson’s Creek by Louis Michel,

the approximate location of the site is marked by a cairn on Fourth Hill in the Warrandyte State Park.

Oil on Canvas by Edwin Stockqueler (1829-1900)

This marked the start of the Victorian gold rush,

however more substantial discoveries in the

Ballarat and Bendigo region initially drew prospectors away from Warrandyte.

Sulphur crested cockatoos in Warrandyte

Now Warrandyte is a bustling suburb, beautiful, treed and full of interesting shops and restaurants.

Here is a picture of the city of Melbourne taken recently from The Yarra River.

It is true that we see kookaburras whilst at the monthly

Warrandyte Market, occasionally we have seen a platypus and

when you live around here, you see Sulphur Crested Cockatoos daily.

Maybe you’ll visit us one day – you’ll be very welcome!

Customers browsing at Warrandyte Market (stall 2)

Customer who designed her own art glass platter collecting from Warrandyte Market (stall 2)

Scarlet Joy - perfect for the Christmas Day table!

We called this Scarlet Joy!

See you at Warrandyte 🙂



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